Costa Rica

fishing

Costa Rica has some of the best Sport Fishing in the world and is the first country to practice catch and release fishing. The Pacific side has incredible fishing for Sailfish, Marlin, Dorado, Tuna, Wahoo, Roosterfish, Snapper, Grouper and more. The Caribbean side is famous for big Tarpon and big Snook. Over sixty-four world records have been caught in Costa Rica. Half day, Full day and Multi-Day Trips are available.

The local newspaper, La Nación, has an extensive jobs listing every Sunday and Monday. You must be a resident or be sponsored by a company to work legally in Costa Rica. ESL teachers can find work in Costa Rica with Bachelor`s Degree and a TESOL certification. ESL teachers can expect to earn 226,700 - 566,750 CRC monthly and will usually teach 8 – 15 hours in a week. Contracts will usually not include accommodations the employer may help, airfare, and health-care.

Costa Rica is an open business country and investors are always welcome, so if you or your company is interested in founding a new or buying a business in Costa Rica, it is best to contact a Costa Rican lawyer about your interest in investing.

other active/extreme sports

Wind surfing in the Tilarán area is some of the best in the world.

"Canopy tours" or zip-lines are very popular tourist activities and are found all over Costa Rica. These typically cost between USD30-50 depending on the company and use a series of zip-lines to travel between platforms attached to the trees, through and over the forest canopy and over rivers. The person is secured with harnesses to the metal cords, as some go very high off the ground. Be sure to ask about the zip-line certification before booking and be sure to take part in the safety briefing before participating.

Another form of canopy tour is via an aerial tram which are ski lifts modified for the rainforest. These trams are slower allowing the visitor to view wildlife in the canopy. Each tram has a guide who will explain the flora and fauna. The trams exist at adventure parks near Jaco Beach and just outside Braulio Carrillo National Park and are appropriate for all ages. The trams may be combined with ziplining and often have other attractions such as medicine gardens or serpentaria so guests may learn more about Costa Rica.

rafting

Costa Rica is one of the countries with more rivers per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. Nearly anywhere you go you will find some kind of river trip to enjoy nature from a very unique point of view.

There is a wide variety of exciting rafting trips offered in Costa Rica. For many years, the rafting Mecca of Costa Rica was Turrialba, a large town embedded in the mountains near the Reventazon and Pacuare Rivers, on the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica.

However, the Arenal Volcano area is now an increasingly-popular whitewater rafting destination with close access to the Sarapiqui and Toro Rivers, as well as the Class II-III Río Balsa which delight rafting enthusiasts in the Northern slopes of the country.

On the Pacific slope, the river with the largest volume, El General, is famous for multi-day adventures and for being an incredible playground for kayakers. The Coto Brus River is also part of this watershed. Further north, on the central Pacific coast, are the Savegre and Naranjo Rivers. In this area you have the opportunity to enjoy both half-day trips on the Naranjo River and 1-to-2-day trips on the Savegre River.

The Class III-IV Tenorio River near Canas, Guanacaste is a favorite among day-trippers from the beaches of Guanacaste, as well as part of shuttle-tour-shuttle services from the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde to the Guanacaste area. The lower section of the Tenorio River is widely-known for being an excellent nature float trip.

The Pacuare River Class III-IV is at the top of the list for 2- or 3-day adventures. If you are interested in similar trips, the Savegre River Class III-IV is an excellent alternative for an overnight rafting excursions.

If you want more adrenaline, the Chorro Section Class IV+ of the Naranjo River, near Manuel Antonio, Quepos is one of the most exhilarating rafting trip of the country. This section is run from December to May.

As for nature-oriented trips, the Peñas Blancas River near the Arenal Volcano provides a great look at the tremendous biodiversity of the country.

Most likely, any of these rafting trips will be the highlight of your active vacations, so don’t miss your chance to paddle one.

beaches

Costa Rica is a country with an extraordinary wealth of things to do, but regardless of your travel interests, you're going to want to spend time at one of the country's great beaches. The lion's share of beach tourism is concentrated on the Pacific side, in the Central Pacific region near San José, the Nicoya Peninsula, and in the dry tropical forests of Guanacaste. Less touristed, but no less beautiful are the beaches in the tropical rainforest of the southern Pacific coast near Corcovado National Park, or on the exotic, rastafarian, eco-tourism paradise of the Caribbean side.

While some of the best beach vacations will be found on tiny quiet beaches off the beaten path, or even at exclusive resorts, here's a quick list of the country's biggest and most popular beach destinations:

Corcovado — the main beach on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, with black sand beaches fronted by the thick Costa Rican tropical rainforest

Dominical — probably the biggest surfing destination in the country, with a good nightlife scene

Jacó — the party beach city right by San José, a surfer's paradise full of nightlife and casinos

Montezuma — the bohemian option, on the Nicoya Peninsula, full of dreadlocks, surfers, and what you would expect would come along with them known as "monte fuma" by the locals

Playa Santa Teresa — One of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, located on the Western tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, known for its great surfing conditions, consistent all year round.

Playa Grande — this tranquil white sand beach is home to the largest nesting site for the Leatherback sea turtle on the Pacific coast, as well as, one of the best surfing waves in the Guanacaste Province

Tamarindo — well known as a surfing and fishing destination with a big choice of hotels and restaurants.

Tortuguero — the Caribbean side's most famous beach, which caters to eco-tourists looking to explore the rain-forest and spot some Manatees

You can learn Spanish in Costa Rica. Reflecting the higher living standard, it's a little more expensive than other countries such as Guatemala, but then again, the education level of your teachers will be much higher.

Costa Rica is a great place to learn Spanish as the "ticos" have a dialect that is easy to understand and digest for someone just starting to learn the language. There are many language schools that provide intensive instruction with group classes lasting 4 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Almost all Spanish schools will also offer host family accommodations and possibly some alternative such as a student residence or discounted hotel rates.

The key factor when going to study Spanish in Costa Rica is to decide what is the right location for you. The beach locations tend to be on the touristy side so they do not necessarily give the greatest immersion experience, however there are many Spanish schools near the beach as students like to split their time between studying Spanish in the classroom combined with activities on the beach or just relaxing on their time away from work. There is a growing trend of these Spanish schools at the beach also offering Surfing or Photography classes due to the environment around the school and the proximity to good surf.

Studying in the San Jose area has many benefits. There is the luxury aspect of city life since it tends to be much more modern than the rustic beach locations. Host families and Spanish schools tend to have nicer facilities. San Jose also has fewer tourists so it is great from an immersion point of view as you can practice your Spanish in a setting where people are not automatically switching to English to accommodate your native language. It is much better that you struggle with your Spanish and force your brain to think in a different language so your communication becomes much smoother.

There are also a number of language schools that can be found throughout the Central Valley, particularly in Heredia and its surrounding cantons. These language schools typically offer only Spanish to foreign students from the United States and Europe but some, including the Instituto Norte Americano in Heredia, offer Spanish to foreign students, and English and Mandarin to local ones. Many of these language schools are also instrumental in helping the surrounding community, either through monetary donations or educational opportunities that otherwise may not have existed for the local Costa Rican population. Schools such as IAC Instituto de Aprendizaje de Costa Rica in Manuel Antonio, La Escuela Armonía in Guanacaste, as well as the Instituto Norte Americano in Heredia have frequently acted as educational hubs for their surrounding communities, giving free English classes to teachers of nearby schools and helping to raise money for worthy causes. Similarly in the Guanacaste region, Spanish schools such as Instituto Estelar Bilingüe in Liberia work closely with volunteer organizations and non-profits in the area in order to help the local people and give back to the community. Students are able to volunteer their time in a variety of ways while studying Spanish and travelling.

Some hostels offer packages that include Spanish lessons and daily home-stays with the locals in addition to your room and board.

Costa Rica is also a good place to become proficient in ocean sports like surfing and scuba diving. There are numerous surf shops, that provide surfing lessons and surf camps throughout the coastal areas.

Costa Rica has numerous private international K-12 schools where students are taught in either English or a mixture of English and Spanish. Education standards in these schools are comparable to that of private schools in countries such as the United States, at around a third of the cost. Lincoln School is one of the most highly regarded international schools in Costa Rica and Central America. Some of these schools also offer Spanish lessons for those who wish to learn.

surf

Costa Rica has many surfing hotspots. The best time of year to surf is from November - August.

The Pacific coast, particularly in the Central Pacific and Guanacaste, has some of the best surfing in Central America.

In the Guanacaste there are several beaches to choose from if you intend to go surfing. Among them, Playa Negra and Playa Grande are two stand out breaks. Playa Negra breaks over a shallow lava reef producing fast hollow waves for advanced surfers only. Playa Grande is the most consistent break in the area with surfable conditions most days of the year. It breaks over a sandy bottom and is good for beginner and experienced surfers.

Tamarindo is a good beach to learn how to surf, whilst Playa del Coco offers advanced surfers the chance to surf at Witches Rock and Ollie´s Point. On the Caribbean side there are beautiful beaches, but limited surfing prospects.

The southern Costa Rica area has two very good spots for surf: Dominical and Pavones Beach. Pavones Beach has thick, heavy waves which consistently barrel and can get really big. It's little known, but picturesque and untamed; Definitely not for the light hearted.

In the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma has one of the most beautiful beach breaks in the area, called Playa Grande. It's a short eastward walk from Montezuma village. The break is great for all surfers.

There's a good book on Costa Rica surf spots on Amazon: Surfing Costa Rica Surf Spots

volunteering

There are several opportunities to engage in volunteer work in Costa Rica. Volunteer projects range from turtle conservation, building houses, teaching English and community development work.Some schools offer visits to Costa Rica as part of the World Challenge activity, which combines a Trekking expedition with some of the students time assigned to helping local people on community projects.

Volunteer in Costa Rica

scuba diving

Costa Rica is home to some of the best scuba diving in Central America. With diving on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts as well as the world famous Cocos Island, there is something for all scuba enthusiasts.

Cocos Island is a famous island located approximately 300 kms off shore and is only accessible by liveaboard boats. The area is a national marine park and is the only place in Costa Rica that you can regularly find schooling hammerheads.

The Gulf de Papagayo is a well established dive location with three major diving options. Local diving, the Catalinas, and the Bat Islands are the options within the Gulf. Diving centers are mainly located around Playas del Coco and Playa Flamingo. Out of the three options, Bat Islands is probably the most exciting as this national marine park is home to the often feared bull sharks. The dive site "Big Scare" allows divers the chance to dive face to face with these sharks and is also home to other large pelagics such as manta rays and the occasional whale shark.

golf

Costa Rica is also know as a haven for some of the most lush, tropical golfing environments in the world. At any course, you can expect to an ensemble of exotic, indigenous animals; jungle; mountainous terrain; and a surreal, blue ocean painting a brilliant, seclusive experience.

Courses are located in 3 major areas of Costa Rica: Guanacaste, San Jose and Mid Pacific. Due to road conditions, you should check the driving times between courses.

There are many tournaments during the year that any traveler can participate in. Most courses offer shoe and club rentals.

biking

Costa Rica has great mountain biking routes, particularly near Irazu, Turrialba and Arenal Volcanoes. There is popular dirt road that connects Irazu Volcano and the foothills of Turrialba Volcano that is perfect for mountain biking, as it traverses the mountain and presents great views of the Cartago Valley weather permitting, of course.

Near Paraiso, Cartago, there is an amazing waterfall and biking tours around the valley

The area around Lake Arenal is also a great spot to bike. You can circle the lake in one long day, or break up the ride in two sleeping in Tilarán or Nuevo Arenal. The use of mountain bikes is a must, since the southern shore of the lake is unpaved.

The Nicoya Peninsula also has great riding, particularly the stretch between Sámara, Puerto Coyote and Malpais. There is a coastal road that connects these three beach towns.